Why Coexist


Coexist works in communities with a history of conflict to repair the divides caused by prejudice, hate and violence. By creating opportunities for people to work and learn together, we help build relationships, knowledge and common purpose to advance coexistence.

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Crisis of Understanding

Coexist was created to address the crisis of understanding that tears at the social fabric of societies around the world. Globalization has outpaced our understanding of one another, creating divisions that plague communities with prejudice, hate and violence.

These divides create instability that affects every facet of life, reducing global economic output, health, education, and progress in arts and science. In our interconnected world, a lack of social cohesion generates shock waves that damage not only the immediate region, but produce real consequences for the economy and job opportunities in communities on the other side of the world.

Understanding Changes Everything

Coexist is on a mission to advance social cohesion through education and innovation.

Coexist works at the faultlines of conflicting cultural identities to to strengthen the bond that holds a society together through a sustainable model of people working and learning together. This generates social cohesion that reduces prejudice, hate and violence and prevents conflict from emerging again.

Meet Our Team

Tarek Elgawhary


Tarek has worked for the past ten years in the US, England, Switzerland, Egypt, KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, and Qatar in the space of strategic communications. He is passionate about having the greatest social impact possible and about helping people understand one another. Tarek is a PhD candidate at Princeton University.

Lance McPherson


Over the years, Lance has focused his efforts to increase the impact and efficiency of organizations that are trying to change the world. He grew up in Atlanta and has lived and worked in London, Kuwait, UAE and China. His work at Coexist reflects his drive to increase the appreciation of the cultural diversity in the world.

Michael Wakelin

Director of Coexist Projects

An award-winning producer, director and executive producer, Michael worked in radio, TV and digital media at the BBC for 23 years and served as head of Religion and Ethics from 2006 – 2009. He graduated with honors in theology from Birmingham University and is a published author, contributor to various publications, and frequent speaker on matters of religion and the media.

Isabella Ward

Executive Administrator

Isabella has a diploma in Fine Art from the City and Guilds School of Art in London. Before she joined the Coexist Foundation in 2009, her career ranged from Wardrobe Assistant with the Boston Ballet, to eight years as a Research Assistant in the office of HRH The Prince of Wales. She's passionate about Coexist, the arts, and anything to do with horses.

H.E. Sheikh Ali Goma'a

Board Member

was the Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2003­-2013, during which he modernized the fatwa system. He studied at al-­Azhar University where he went on to become a Professor. While there Sheikh Ali was renowned for challenging the extremist views of some of his pupils. He has written over thirty books and is a prolific speaker on Islamic issues.

Robin Griffith-Jones

Board Member

is Master of the Temple at Temple Church, one of the most historic positions in the Anglican Church, and a Senior Lecturer in Theology, King’s College London. He is the author of The Four Witnesses (2000), The Gospel According to Paul (2004) andMary Magdalene (2008). He is the editor of Islam and English Law (2013).

Shamil Idriss

Board Member

is the Chief Executive Officer of Soliya. Mr. Idriss served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund which merged with Soliya in 2009. In 2005 he was appointed by UN Secretary­-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the Alliance of Civilizations. He served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and as COO of Search for Common Ground, a global conflict resolution organization. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and of the ASMA Society’s Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.

Rabbi Dr David Rosen

Board Member

is the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and was for many years Rabbi of the largest congregation in South Africa. He is the Honorary Adviser on Interreligious Affairs of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and for the last four years he has led the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, a broad­-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religious bodies. Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department for Interreligious Affairs and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, Rabbi Rosen serves on several international interreligious organisations. Among various awards and honours, Rabbi Rosen is the first Israeli and the first Orthodox rabbi to receive a papal Knighthood, conferred on him for his contribution to Jewish- Catholic reconciliation.

Timothy Ryan

Board Member

is Chairman of Consulum Strategic Communications Counsel. Educated in Australia, he served with the Australian Army and with the United Nations in the Middle East. He co-­founded Chelworth, an aerospace and defence consultancy, and later joined SkyPharma, the UK­-based Pharmaceuticals company, as Director of Communications. He performed a similar role at NTL, the Cable Media and Telecoms company, before moving to Bell Pottinger in 2003.

Dr. William Vendley

Board Member

William Vendley is the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International. He is a member of its World Council, which consists of 60 senior religious leaders from all continents. He is a pioneer in employing religious cooperation to help resolve conflict. He established Inter­religious Councils in Bosnia­Herzegovina and Sierra Leone in the immediate aftermath of the civil war, and assisted in the formal peace talks in Lome, Togo. He has led multi­religious efforts to prevent conflicts, mediate among warring parties, and heal societies in the aftermath of violence in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and other countries. He is convinced that multi­religious efforts for peacemaking provide unique strengths that complement those marshaled by governments and bodies like the United Nations. Dr. Vendley is an advisor to President Obama through his service on the Multi­religious Cooperation and International Affairs Task Force of the White House Faith­-Based Council. He lectures frequently in academic, governmental, and other forums.

Adrian Weller

Board Member

Adrian Weller graduated in 1991 in mathematics from Trinity College, Cambridge. He moved to New York, ran Goldman Sachs’ US Treasury options trading desk and then joined the fixed income arbitrage trading group at Salomon Brothers. He went on to run US and European interest rate trading at Citadel Investment Group in Chicago and London. Recently, Adrian has been traveling, studying and managing private investments. Adrian is an advisor to and a director of several companies and charitable organizations including Totem Capital, Rismark International, Via Science and Cambridge in America.

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Advisory Board

is the founder and Managing Director of Grameen Bank, which currently operates nearly two and a half thousand branches providing credit for more than seven million poor people across almost eighty thousand villages in Bangladesh. His Grameen banking concept – banking without collateral for the poorest of the poor – has won him a host of international prizes, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Professor Yunus studied economics at Vanderbilt University in the USA, and taught, first at Middle Tennessee University, and then at Chittagong University. He started the Grameen project in 1976, and the Grameen Bank was formally registered in 1983. Its principle – helping the rural poor into self­-employment through small loans – has since been taken up across the world. Alongside Grameen Bank, Professor Yunus has established a series of companies in Bangladesh to address related issues of development and poverty. These include Grameen Phone, Grameen Cybernet, Grameen Communications, Grameen Fund, Grameen Renewable Energy and many others.

Operational Partners

We partner with organizations across the world to deliver the best impact on the ground

Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

Coexist has forged a long-term partnership with the University of Cambridge to develop initiatives that create a better understanding of religion today.


The first corporate sponsor of the Coexist Campaign, Zenify has found a way to combat the harmful effects of stress and over stimulation with an extremely effective Zen Blend of Amino Acids L-Theanine, GABA and Glycine that help you stay Calm, Sharp & Focused. We're extremely proud to have Zenify's support in our work!


Meedan is a specialist online translation organization based in Palo Alto, California. Coexist works with Meedan to develop online translation platforms including Nurani. This pioneering work enables those who do not speak the same language to engage constructively with one another.

Ceremony Coffee

More than a small-batch, specialty roaster, Ceremony is an ambitious band of professionals sourcing, roasting, and brewing the most beautiful coffees on the planet.


Kulanu, "All of us" in Hebrew, is a non-profit organization based in New York City that works around the world to support isolated and emerging Jewish communities that wish to learn more about Judaism and connect with the wider Jewish community.

Chetna Organic

A fair trade cooperative, Chetna Organic partners with smallholder and marginalized farmers to improve their livelihoods and make farming a sustainable and profitable occupation. Chetna works with farmers from the regions of Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, covering around 35,000 acres in total.

Rajlakshmi Mills

The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills blend together garments manufacturing expertise with the highest certifications for organic and environmental stewardship. Rajlakshmi unites the best craftsmen across religious and social divides to produce soft, stylish and durable clothing - doing good while helping you look good.

Three Faiths Forum

Coexist partnered with the Three Faiths Forum (3FF) to create the Intercultural Forum (ICF). The ICF draws on the proven methods and fifteen-plus years experience of its mentor organization, the London-based 3ff, to bring religious and cultural diversity workshops into U.S. public, private, and faith-based high schools.

Greenbelt Festival

Greenbelt creates festivals and spaces where art, faith and justice collide. Coexist partnered to enrich the Greenbelt Festival with a new emphasis on multi-faith content and film.

Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground (SFCG) uses the media to build bridges of understanding around the world. Coexist worked with SFCG on the Common Ground News Service (CG News) to distribute constructive articles by local and international experts to thousands of media outlets across the world.

Mosintuwu Institute

Institute MOSINTUWU is a grassroots community movement in the post-conflict area of Poso, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, consisting of survivors of Poso conflict. MOSINTUWU’s Vision is empowering the people’s struggle for sovereignty over their economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights.

Insight Film Festival

Insight Film Festival provides a platform for young film makers to explore aspects of religion, culture and identity. The festival aims to create exceptional films, which will entertain, educate and inform, breaking down prejudices and building better understanding.

Peace Kawomera

Our partner cooperative in Mbale, Uganda, the Peace Kawomera Co-operative ("Delicious Peace" in the Luganda language) unites Christian, Muslim, and Jewish coffee farmers to heal the divides of conflict in their communities and create a truly delicious cup of coffee. For more info visit www.mirembekawomera.com.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Coexist joins forces with the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival to create a fascinating new series of polemical events focused on faith, culture and inspiration.

Prince's School of Traditional Arts

Coexist works with the Prince's School of Traditional Arts to promote public outreach programs in schools, colleges and museums.

BBC Radio 2

Coexist partners with BBC Radio 2 and the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival for the Pause for Though talent search.

We're all about transparency. Our financials are open for review.

501(c)3 Charity Status ›